Ask Ethan #15: The Universe's Most Massive Black Holes

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” –Joseph Campbell Ever since we created a question/suggestion box here, we’ve been deluged by far more excellent questions than one person could possibly answer, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t trying! For this … Read moreAsk Ethan #15: The Universe's Most Massive Black Holes

Messier Monday: A Spiral with an Active Black Hole, M106

“The proverb warns that ‘You should not bite the hand that feeds you.’ But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.” –Thomas Szasz But on this Messier Monday, you’re lucky enough that you’re about to be introduced to one of the great northern galaxies of the Messier catalogue that is feeding itself! There … Read moreMessier Monday: A Spiral with an Active Black Hole, M106

Messier Monday: The Smallest Messier Galaxy, M32

“Dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Welcome back to yet another Messier Monday here on Starts With A Bang! Each Monday, we highlight one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier catalogue, showing you where and how to find … Read moreMessier Monday: The Smallest Messier Galaxy, M32

Black Holes Won't Incinerate You, After All

“You wait for a gem in an endless sea of blah.” –Lawrence Grossman On the one hand, we have General Relativity, our theory of space, time, and gravity. It describes the Universe on both large and small scales perfectly, from the hot Big Bang to our cold accelerating expansion, from vast superclusters of galaxies down … Read moreBlack Holes Won't Incinerate You, After All

How can we see black holes?

“According to the special theory of relativity nothing can travel faster than light, so that if light cannot escape, nothing else can either. The result would be a black hole: a region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape to infinity.” –Stephen Hawking You may have encountered objects that are the same … Read moreHow can we see black holes?

A Spectacular Chance for Gravitational Waves

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” -Isaac Asimov One of the most spectacular and successful ideas of the 20th Century was Einstein’s General Relativity, or the idea that matter and energy determines the curvature of spacetime, and the curvature of spacetime in turn determines … Read moreA Spectacular Chance for Gravitational Waves

Practically Everything Leaves Something Behind

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people … Read morePractically Everything Leaves Something Behind

How to make a Black Hole

You and I have lived on planet Earth long enough to know that if you want to launch something into space, it needs to travel fast enough to escape the pull of Earth’s gravity. Launch it with too slow of a speed, and it crashes back into Earth. Launch it with a little more speed, … Read moreHow to make a Black Hole